NEW YORK – The new Navy assault ship USS New York, built with World Trade Center steel, arrived in its namesake city Monday with a rifle volley salute near the site of the 2001 terrorist attack.
First responders, families of Sept. 11 victims and the public gathered Monday at a waterfront viewing area, where they could see the crew standing at attention along the deck of the battleship gray vessel.
The big ship paused. Then the shots were fired, with a cracking sound, in three bursts.
The bow of the $1 billion ship, built in Louisiana, contains about 7.5 tons of steel from the fallen towers.
“It’s a transformation … from something really twisted and ugly,” said Rosaleen Tallon, who lost her firefighter brother, Sean, on Sept. 11. “I’m proud that our military is using that steel.”
JoAnn Atlas, of Howells, N.Y., who lost her husband, fire Lt. Gregg Atlas, draped a flag-themed banner along the fence. The names of emergency workers who died were written on the red stripes.
At a short ceremony later at Pier 88 near the site of the aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the USS New York couldn’t have a more fitting name, representing freedom, courage and resilience.
“This ship is actually a physical representation of that spirit with steel from the World Trade Center built into its bow so every friend that sets foot on it and every foe that dares challenge it will feel its power and know that it is literally made from the heart and soul of the city that has sacrificed so much,” the mayor said.
Of the 361 sailors serving aboard the ship, around 13 percent are from New York state, which is higher than would normally be the case, a Navy spokeswoman said. There were many requests from Navy personnel to serve on the ship, which will carry some 250 Marines.
It was scheduled to be built before the terrorist attacks. About a year later, the announcement came that the ship would bear the name New York to honor the city, state, and those who died.